You ever stand over a shot and get scared?
Perhaps there’s water all down the right-hand side and you slice the golf ball more than a game of fruit ninja. Or maybe it’s just really windy outside.
Don’t worry it happens to all of us, even the pros get cold feet!
But they have a weapon to calm the crushing fear of doubt: the safety shot.
What is the safety shot? Simple really, it’s any shot that, no matter the weather or circumstance, you can fall back on to make the ball go where you want it to.
Tiger Woods had his infamous stinger, a low bullet that ran forever and found the fairway more often than the mower. Jack Nicklaus loved to work the ball from left to right, relying on his consistent fade to avoid trouble.
Developing your safety shot is key to scoring well and relieving stress. Here’s a drill to help you find it, so grab a bucket of range balls and let’s get after it!
The first step is to visualize a hole that gives you trouble. Build the hole on the driving range imagining that out-of-bounds down the left-hand side of the fairway. Next, pick a club you feel most comfortable with off the tee, for me, it’s my driver. Choke down and make a three-quarter swing.
Here’s the crucial part: make a shorter, compact swing but use the same force. Don’t try and ease it into the fairway, that’s when things start to go wrong. Make a committed swing with a shorter take away.
Now rinse, repeat and ingrain that feeling into your muscles. The next time you stare down a tight fairway your knees won’t buckle, your muscles will remember the safety shot.
Before you know it, you’ll be strolling down the fairway happier than a clam.
And enjoy this video of Tiger's stinger at Augusta ... mesmerizing: